A new campaign has been launched to encourage people with MS to reconnect with specialist services.
A series of posters are being delivered to all GP practices across the country to identify 'lost patients' and signpost them towards MS specialist services.There is also a website which provides videos and testimonials about the importance of MS patients connecting with specialist services.
Del Thomas, an MS specialist nurse said that practice and community nurses have a key role in identifying MS patients and connecting them with specialist services.
'A practice nurse can identify someone who comes in for another appointment, such as a blood test or a smear test, and then ask them about their MS. If the patient requests the practice nurses can signpost them to the MS specialist services,' she said.
Ms Thomas said that MS specialist nurses do not just help with disease modifying therapy but work with patients throughout the course of their life with palliative care or the identifying symptoms and referrals to difference sources for family support. 'Often a district nurse will be asked by the family for advice about MS and so the campaign can help district nurses identify the services closest to them and advise the patients accordingly,' she said.
They can also help patients access ongoing education, recieve advice on the management of MS symptoms, regular monitoring of disease preogession and advice on relapse management.
There are now around 245 MS specialist nurses across the country working in the community as well as 89 MS centres.